Thoughts on: Educated by Tara Westover

A memoir. Likely one of the best I’ve read.

——

Tara grew up in a pious Mormon family lead by a survivalist father with a fondness for conspiracy theories. His plan was to be fully self-reliant and “off the grid” before the End of Days, an event he was sure to be imminent.

Tara’s story about finding her independence is a powerful one; a narrative so well-crafted I had a hard time putting it down even for my most basic maslowian needs.


📝 Her mother was trained to be a midwife. The idea was that she would deliver the grandchildren ones the family was “off the grid”.

📝 The Protocols on the Elders of Zion: A fabricated document, from 1903, of a secret meeting of powerful Jews planing world domination. Discredited, but it still spread anti-semitism and fueled conspiracy theorists for decades to come.

📝 She read Mormon doctrine in mimicry of a brother that left her for school. “In retrospect I can see that this was my education. The one that would matter.” “The skill I was learning was a crucial one; the patience to read things I could not yet understand.”

📝 Mother was a herbalist and energy worker: “Mother was marketing her product as a spiritual alternative to Obama Care.” Made bank! 💰


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

It is fascinating how the object of concern for the conspiracy theorist change over time as each prophecy fail to deliver the end of days. When Y2K didn’t happened Taras father lost hope for a while, then the events of 9/11 filled that vacuum.


⚖️ VERDICT:

Now we run into trouble. What are we scoring here?! Our goal is to educate ourself about the human condition and learn how to live well in spite of it. The rating system gives and indication on how well a book meets that goal.

For our learning purposes it’s a good book (3). As a “beach book” it’s excellent! (4 or a 5). Pick it up during summer break (if you have the privilege to have one) then get back to your studies! 😉👨‍🎓👩‍🎓


3/5


⁉️ QUESTON:

Are there any books on the psychology of conspiracy theorists? AND What’s your thoughts on vaccines, Illuminati, Rothchilds, Aliens and government brainwashing? 🤔

Photo credit: @thebookunicorns

For more mind boggling read check out my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “Martin Luther” by Eric Metaxas

Luther rejected the practices of the Roman Catholic Church and the practice of selling indulgences (get out-of-jail-free cards for purgatory, basically.) in particular. Thereby he started the era known to us as the Reformation.


Let’s jump right into the notes:

📝 He was about to become a law student when he got trapped in a lighting storm. Praying for his life he uttered: “Ich will ein Munk werden” (“I will become a monk”). The storm calmed and it was so.

📝 1476 the market for indulgences where expanded beyond the living. Now you could pay for the sins of the dead too!

📝 Luther heroically posting his truths on the wooden church door in Wittenberg is fiction made in hindsight. What Luther actually posted was an invitation to debate….which no one attended.

📝 Two things fueled the Reformation: the printing press and Luther writing in German (instead of Latin). Luther’s writing spread like wildfire which was unintentional. It was as if a hastily written email to a friend was accidentally forwarded to a major news corporation.

📝 “A simple layman armed with scripture is to be believed above a Pope or council without it.”

📝 “This life is the shithouse compared to the glories of heaven” – Luther 😎

📝 FUNNY STORY: A nobleman asked if he could buy indulgences for a future sin and a preacher named Tetzel said he could. When the peacher was about to leave town the nobleman robbed and beat him up and left with the comment: “this was the future sin I had in mind!”. 😂😂


Overall solid, VERY solid book. I enjoyed it far more than I ever thought I would. Also it felt good to fill another gap in my history education; the Reformation.


What biographies have you planned for this year? 🤔

I would like to do another political leader (a president or Churchill) or a Nietzsche bio 💪🏻

4/5

Check out my Reading Lists for more great reads!

Thoughts on: “The Power of Moments” by Chip & Dan Heath

The book does what it sets out to do and does it competently; It want to show how powerful moments- the moments that defines us and we remember for a long time – can change and elevate us. The Heaths breaks down why this is and how we can create more of powerful moments.


📝 The years between 15 – 30 has the most Moments. Probably due to novelty.

📝 Peak/End rule: Experiences are judged by two key moments; The peak and the end. Think about your last vacation. What do you remember from it?

📝 The Oddball Effect: Surprise stretches time. Novel moments are experiences as 36% longer than routine ones.

📝 “What did you fail at today?” A question for the family at the dinner table. Encourage to push yourself to stretch. An attempt to normalize failure.

📝 Try this! Next time you have a conversation, push intentionally beyond small talk. Make yourself vulnerable and be surprised by the results. Relationships don’t deepen naturally.

📝 Struggle together and strong bonds will be created. I just came off a challenging work project. Making RAGE2 (a video game) was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The experience turned mere collages into brothers and sisters.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I got the recipe. Now I need to create more moments and better moments for myself and others.


⚖️ VERDICT:

I did not like this book, and I think it’s my fault. I have read to much about the subjects covered in this book already which makes a lot of the conclusions feel like common sense. BUT they probably aren’t if you are new to books on positive psychology, communication, leadership.

If you’re a new reader and want to create better relationships and be a better leader than this is a good starting point!


3/5

Photo credit: @kanoilab


Are you too suffering from diminishing return when reading certain genres? 🤔

Find the best books I’ve ever read in my Reading Lists.

Thoughts on: “Abundance” Diamandis & Kotler

Exponential technology has the potential to create a world of abundance. Did you know that aluminum was the most valuable of metals back in the day? Now we use it for disposable cans. This book covers exponentials that will shape the near future. Including computing power, nano science, microbiology and 3D printing to name a few. It’s written to get people aware and excited about the future in a world where mass media predicts the end of the world. My main takeaway is to try to recognize how quality of life for almost everyone is steadily improving with the help of human ingenuity–and try to battle some of my tendencies towards a “scarcity” thinking.

5/5

Find other fascinating reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: “Give People Money” by Annie Lowrey

The idea behind Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a simple one; Give People Cash! Enough to live on—maybe not well, but enough —every month, for a lifetime. No strings attached. Let people pay for rent, invest in a business idea or buy heroin. Doesn’t matter.

In one strike you would end poverty. This is interesting stuff!

📝 Some Arguments for a UBI:

– More women would afford leaving an abusive partner.

– Increase bargaining power for workers.

– Keep the masses afloat in a jobless future.

📝 Luddite fallacy: The idea that machines are going to eliminate work. It has been around for decades. And been proven wrong many times. Is it different this time?

📝 It has been proven again and again that giving people cash doesn’t have any impact on people’s propensity to work.

📝 “Cash is universally useful.” Charity programs can be counterproductive as it gives shoes to people who already have shoes and actually need something else. Foreign aid clothes can disrupt the local clothing markets etc..

📝 It’s going to be expensive.. but it’s not even close to impossible.

I loved to finally dig into this subject as the idea of UBI fascinates me to no end. Unfortunately there is not much data on I it will actually work. There are a lot of experiments going on throughout the world and only time will tell if it works.

The book is alright but the concept is great! A solid introduction to the subject.

Here are a few other books about UBI to choose from:

📖 Utopia For Realists 📖

📖 Inventing the Future 📖

3/5

Photo credit: @rewritethestory

Find other fascinating reads in my reading lists!

Thoughts on: ”Influence” by Robert Cialdini

Cialdinis book is a must read for everyone. Whether you try to influence someone or want to avoid being influenced by others. To know the weaknesses of the the brains reasoning abilities is the best way to protect ourself against making bad decisions. This book is jam packed with amazing facts, science and stories that will change the way you see the world. My main takeaway is that I need to continue be on my guard for influence workers that try to exploit the brains cognitive biases. The fact that this book isn’t obligatory reading in schools is beyond my comprehension.

5/5

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

Quit or Persist? Know When NOT to Quit a Book.

Since many of us don’t read for pleasure only we should be careful not to discard a book because it’s not a thrilling rollercoasters ride. Some books I struggled with—that bored me or overwhelmed me— also gave me valuable insights and context for understanding the world and human nature.

Consult your ‘Why’ before you discard a book. What was your intention when you first started reading it and does it still apply?


Here are some books I’m happy I didn’t give up on (SWIPE for covers):

📖 Titan – The Life of J. D Rockefeller

📖 The New Tsar – The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin

📖 Mao – The Unknown Story

📖 Deng Xiaopeng: A Revolutionary life

📖 The Origin of Political Order – Francis Fukuyama

(Hey, I see a common theme here 😉)


What’s your thoughts on pushing yourself on finish books?

What book are you glad you finished even though you struggled? 🤔

And yes; Find amazing reads in my reading lists!

Quit of Persist? – Know When To Give Up on a Book.

“What else?” This is a good question to ask yourself. What else could I do right now? Am I spending my time wisely?

When you stand in line to get free popcorn, Is the popcorn really free? No, not really. You give up the opportunity to do something else with the time you spend in line. That something could be work a job, read a book or shoot heroin etc.

It’s called Opportunity Cost; The loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. And you better keep assessing the opportunity cost for your decisions.

I decided to stop reading Michel Jordan’s biography. It was not bad, it was just not for me. But for some reason I just kept going. I caught myself in my madness during conversion with my friend @simonjk.jpg ,who had also read the book and didn’t think too much about it.

It’s easy to be a completionist. It’s harder to make a proper decisions on when to persist and when to let go. Let’s do the latter.


Some books i parted with before I hit the last page:

📖 Braving the Wilderness

📖 Braiding Sweetgrass

📖 Power vs. Force

📖 A Primates Memoir


What books did you leave unfinished?

Find books that really captured my attention in my reading lists!

Mini Review – Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant (Part 2) – The Near East

The second part of this tome (1200+ pages) is focused on the Ancient civilizations of the Near East; Egypt, Persia, Babylonia, Judea etc..

📝 “It is in the nature of an empire to disintegrate soon, for the energy that created it disappears from those who inherits it.”

📝 Persia was founded by a stoic people, but within a century it was destroyed by people binge-drinking and eating all day; “spending their geniuses on sauces and deserts” 🍰. What state is our current civilization in? 🤔

📝 Egypt: “Machinery was rare because muscle was cheap.”

📝 The hanging gardens of Babylon was considered considered one of the Wonders of the World. Legend has it that Nebuchadnezzar II had it build for his wife who was not used to the desert and longed for her lush homeland.

📝 There where thousands of Gods. With time minor deities merged and became mere aspects of major ones.

📝 In Judean prophets talked about the need to be moral rebirth. Jeremaya asked for circumcision of spirit as well as the flesh in his strange phrase: “Circumstance yourself to the lord, take away the foreskins of your heart.” 😂😂

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

One theme that stood out to me is how civilizations raise from hard labour and sacrifice, just so that future generation can have it go down the toilet by forgetting these hardships and fall victim to hedonism. 💩 🚽

⭐️ TAKEAWAY 2:

The accounts of the religious believes in the different civilizations fascinates me to no end. How similar their stories are to ours and how much we still can find intact or reshaped in today’s religions.

⚖️ VERDICT:

Now we get into the meat of the book and it has taken on another rhythm. I have mixed feelings about this second part of book. It’s is still brilliant but it’s getting hard to retain the information. The problem might lie in the way the book is structured, using the same template to describe each civilization, one after the other, making it overwhelming.

Check out Part 1 for more in this review series.

What are you reading these days? 🤔

Instagram Photo credit: @cinefile_25 , @eruchdah

Find other amazing reads in my reading lists!

My Year in Books with @danjmartinwa

“I listen to nearly one book per day, plus very many podcasts. I learn something I never knew from each book. Books,like people, know many stories and facts I don’t. Every day the parameter of my ignorance expands just like the universe.

Here are some books that really stood out to me this year!

– Dan Martin

📖 The Age of Eisenhower– William I Hitchcock

📖 Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond

📖 Accessory to War– Neil deGrasse Tyson & Avis Lang

📖 Walt Disney – Neal Gabler

📖 Slavery by Another Name – Douglas A. Blackmon

– Dan Martin (@danjmartinwa on Instagram


When someone who reads one book a day gives you his 5 most outstanding books of the year then you better pay attention! I don’t know you Dan but you are a cool dude! 😎

– Poor Bjorn

 

Check out my reading lists for more great books!